Iowa State Director

Job Type

Full Time



Application Deadline:



Des Moines
United States


Organizational Overview: A Pioneer in Conservation Leadership

This is an exciting time at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) - we are shifting our strategy for greater impact in the world, seeking to address some of the most complex challenges facing people and nature --issues such as tackling climate change, building healthy cities, and providing food and water sustainably. This strategic evolution requires us to shift our culture, talent, and organizational design as well. We are seeking a State Director to lead the Iowa Chapter and help us to design and implement our strategic approach to achieving TNC’s Shared Conservation Agenda.


Our Mission: The Nature Conservancy, a global non-profit organization with a million members, is dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends.


Our Vision:  A world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives.


Our Team: We achieve this through the dedicated efforts of our 3800 diverse staff, including more than 600 scientists, all of whom support conservation in 72 countries and all U.S. states. We are striving to develop a workforce as diverse as the places where we work, and we have a deep commitment to diversity.


Our Approach: We use a non-confrontational, collaborative approach and depend on the help of our many partners, from individuals and governments to local nonprofits and corporations.  Since 1951, the organization has protected more than 120 million acres across the world, and has become the largest freshwater and marine conservation organization globally. We are now building on this legacy of land, water, and ocean protection to address global challenges facing people and nature around the world by focusing on five priorities across the entire organization (See the Shared Conservation Agenda for more detail).


Job Overview: Iowa State Director (Business Unit Director)

·        Articulate a vision that inspires and motivates staff, donors, trustees, and partners.

·        Conservation and fundraising leader, in Iowa and globally

·        Cultivate and steward strong and cooperative partnerships with governmental leaders and agencies, corporations, foundations, conservation organizations. Must be able to engage the highest levels of leadership in these organizations.

·        Energetic and entrepreneurial leader possessing sophisticated fundraising, government relations, financial and management abilities

·        While final decision-making authority rests with the State Director, the Iowa program has seasoned senior staff that work collaboratively on organizational goals and outcomes.

·        Iowa has a culture of collaboration, personal accountability, innovation, and high morale.

·        Professional development is a priority for the Iowa program with support and participation for all levels of staff.

·        The Iowa program is supported by a volunteer Board of Trustees that provides strategic leadership and guidance in setting program goals and fundraising. Currently numbering ~28 members, the Board of Trustees convenes four times per year.


Ideal Candidate Search Image:



  • Familiarity and/or experience with agriculture, including a working knowledge of terms/practices
  • Understanding and experience of life in a Midwestern state
  • An understanding of landscape scale conservation, and components within these spaces
  • Appreciates and understands the interdependencies of effective conservation from science and stewardship to fundraising, operations, and government relations
  • A work ethic formed through various types of jobs in various capacities and varied skill set requirements


Strategic Leadership: 

  • Experience having a portfolio of successful (and at least one un-successful) initiatives that utilized cross functional teams, some of which this person should have been the champion/leader accountable for outcomes.
  • Experience having participated in, and been in charge, of strategic planning, developing the pillar(s), goal(s), objective(s) and appropriate strategies and tactics to achieve. Must understand and practice self and group accountability for SMART goals, with a proven record of tracking and accomplishing the goals.
  • Understands the need for divergent and varied views and styles, and incorporates these diverse components into everyday management systems.
  • Should have the ability to “zoom in, zoom out” from 50,000-foot view to ground level, demonstrating an ability to see the importance of all the cogs in the wheel, and the interconnected nature of a systems view.


Global Experience:

  • Exposure to various cultures, geographies, nationalities, ethnicities and points of view, appreciating the basis of each person’s worldview.
  • Exposure to various economic sectors in order to appreciate the vastness of experience and expertise of others outside their field of interest. Financial, health, manufacturing, IT, government, bio-science, education, etc.
  • Vertical exposure within an organization or sector, top to bottom


Accountability as a Leader, Manager, People Developer & Motivator: 

  • Demonstration of organizational values, skills, personal metrics, delegation style, follow up and helpfulness with subordinates. Able to communicate what success looks like in various modes – visual, written, spoken, examples (personal and other’s) and the continual measurement and communication of progress of goal achievement. Dashboards of all the components of an organization, with assigned cross functionality to engender a non-silo mentality.
  • Assignment of varied statured people in the organization to head up projects so all get a chance to show their capabilities and weaknesses, with over communication to ensure a learning atmosphere for all. Sometimes a leader, sometimes a follower, people understand the value of a team and the possibility of future assignments reversing roles.
  • Ability to diagnose the needs of staff and flexing their leadership style in balancing directive and supportive behavior
  • Ability to celebrate small victories along the road to success


Interpersonal Skills: 


Persuasive Communicator: 

  • Active listening skills, including awareness of body language, demonstrated always
  • Understand the motivations and concerns of all parties. Actively seeks out intersections
  • Willing to provide multiple ways/methods to communicate within and outside of the organization
  • A servant leader



Measuring Success


  • Financial Health: The Iowa budget doubled over the past 5 years and the program has developed a 5-year financial sustainability action plan and goals. On an annual basis the program should be making progress towards hitting our 5-year goals.
  • Board and staff are highly engaged and contributing to both Iowa and divisional priorities. Expectation of providing staff development opportunities and succession planning. 
  • Work collaboratively with the Great Plains States to develop, resource and implement divisional priorities of advancing renewable energies, improving soil health and nutrient loading to the Gulf of Mexico and conserving grasslands.  
  • Over the course of the next 18 months a new 3-5 year strategic plan for the program is developed that aligns with the Shared Conservation Agenda and has strong support from staff and board.



Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

Visit and apply online with cover letter & resume to Job ID #46401All resumes and required cover letters must be submitted through The Nature Conservancy’s online application system. The application deadline is May 7, 2018. If you experience technical problems with the site or application process, please contact and include the job opening ID.


Matt Klage

Sr. HR Business Partner



The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of men and women of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veteran status or other status protected by law.